Probably the worst-kept secret of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was that Mark Hamill would be returning as Luke, even after the legendary Jedi died at the end of The Last Jedi. The first trailer for the trilogy-closer confirmed Hamill’s comeback with a moving voiceover, but now this exclusive image from Vanity Fair reveals our very first look at Luke in J.J. Abrams’ movie.
The epic image sees the hero wrapped in Jedi robes with R2-D2 beside him, as fire and smoke swirl behind them. We don’t have any context for the still just yet, but it seems this could be alluding to the fateful night when Kylo Ren burned down Luke’s Jedi academy. Of course, we’ve previously witnessed this moment depicted in both The Force Awakens and TLJ, where it was portrayed somewhat similar to this.
See for yourself in the gallery below, which also includes some other recently released photos:
Arguably one of Abrams’ biggest tasks in The Rise of Skywalker is making up for the backlash against the dark developments Rian Johnson made to Luke’s character, and by extension, the whole franchise, in TLJ. For instance, Ren’s turn to evil was explained as being because Luke almost executed his wayward nephew. If Abrams is revisiting this period via flashbacks, it’ll be interesting to see how he shines a new light on it. Alternatively, this photo could be teasing that Luke may be resurrected, which has been a common theory.
And speaking of theories, there’s been a lot of debate over exactly which Skywalker the title refers to. Out of the pool of characters currently available, it would seem that it’s hinting that Kylo Ren – the one most obsessed with the Skywalker legacy – could be redeemed. Or, maybe it’s hinting that Rey’s a secret member of the family, after all?
In any case, we’ll get to see if Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker can manage to round out not just the Sequel Trilogy but also the entire Skywalker saga in style when it hits theaters on December 20th.